Easter 2005

I caught up on my emails, spent some time with my family, worked on a few work proposals, but haven’t had a good opportunity to sit down and write. There is so much to write about; primaries, new books, how my children are doing in school, my own concerns about next steps in my career. Yet, it is Easter, and that sets the tone.

This morning, I sat on the hard wood of the church pew and looked at the colored light streaming in through the stained glass hitting the rock wall. The altar was covered with Easter Lilies and I closed my eyes. It was a moment out of Proust. The smell of the flowers struck me like the taste of a madeleine cake. It was the fragrance of resurrection.

Before church, Miranda listened to Dar Williams song, “The Christians and the Pagans”. We talked about paganism and Christianity and I thought of how both make use of similar symbols. During the sermon, the Rector asked about symbols of resurrection. He spoke of the egg, hard, cold, like a rock in front of a tomb, but from which life bursts forth. The fragrance of resurrection, the smell of the lilies, the smell of the dirt at the graveside, these are symbols of resurrection to me.

Kim and I have been to a lot of funerals during our married life. I looked at the Easter bulletin and read the names of people for whom the flowers were given in memory of. One was a wonderful woman who died in a tragic car crash a little over a year ago. I thought of some many of Kim’s relatives that have passed on during our married years, and relatives of my own. I reflected on Dashit’s death, the death of soldiers in Iraq, and of so much grief that so many people hold.

Yet this is a day that we celebrate resurrection. It is a day of hope. It is a day that gives us the ability to say things like, “I guess God must have needed Joe for something really important up in heaven.”

I remember so often thinking about how God always answers our prayers, but not always the way that we want them answered. God is a loving God and a just God; a God that hates suffering. I learned to pray for dying friends, that God’s will be done, and not my own. I learned the smallness of my own understanding, and I look forward to the day that I see God face to face and finally get a chance to understand why so many things happened the way they did.

I could not help but think about Terri Schiavo, her parents, and her husband. I prayed for all of them; not that Terri would miraculously be restored to health, but that God’s will would be done. God can make a miracle out of any situation, as a person is dying or even after they have died. I prayed for this country and for our president.

Those who read my blog know that I do not think much of our current president. I feel that he is not doing God’s will, probably as strongly as others feel that he is doing God’s will. Yet that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pray for him. If anything, it means that we must pray even more.

I remember in college, a friend of mine wished that I would experience the suffering of Good Friday so that I could truly understand the joy of Easter morning. That was a pretty frightening and sobering wish. Over the years, I have seen a fair amount of suffering. I think about the suffering that those around me have seen, the suffering of Terri’s parents, the suffering of the parents of children who died serving our country in Iraq and around the world, the suffering of diseases, and of famines around the world. And for all those that suffer, I pray that the joy of Easter Morning will break through.

Alleluia, The Lord is Risen
The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia